October 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
This post is dedicated to one of my classes; a class on Film Studies; I don’t know whether it’s the right term for Kajian Film as in Indonesian. In the class we watch films then we review them, what’s so interesting about them, about the social-political contexts during the time when the films were made, what were the purposes of the production –since we’re in the Faculty of Social and Political Studies, anyway. We’ve been watching old black-and-white films. Battleship Potemkin: The Men and The Maggots –which I haven’t reviewed yet– and Chaplin’s The Great Dictator.
I need to say I’ve got enough of Battleship Potemkin. The name Vakulinchuk –I guess he was the Chief Mate of the Potemkin– has been haunting me since. It wasn’t the first time I watched it; the first was when I was in Theories of Socialism class. It’s a silent movie, black-and-white, full of things you cannot imagine about sailors on deck, forced to eat beef already rotten with maggots, and people screaming and running down the stairs of Odessa city, being shot by the Monarch’s army. It was hilarious, seen from my point of view, also remembering how my friends still laugh their ass out as we talk about Potemkin. Seen from a bit more professional point of view, anyway, it’s excellent. It’s how the director –geez, I forgot whatsisname– could produce detailed terror in dramatic scenes –esp. in the stairs scene– absorbing people’s attention as a baby cradle slides down the stairs, feet step on a child’s body, and someone screaming (idk whether it’s a he or a she). From a scale of one to ten, I give the Potemkin and its infamous Vakulinchuk 8.12 in precise.
Now we get to Chaplin. Gotta admit it was the first time I watched Chaplin. All I knew was his films were all of silent film. Apparently not. The Great Dictator takes the scene of the social and political context during Nazi occupation. So yes, there is a Hitler here –except that he isn’t Hitler but our very own Charlie Chaplin; dressed on one figure as Adenoid Hynkel and an amnesiac Jew barber on the other.
As a dictator of a state namely Tomania, Hynkel is aggressive, rough, powerful, full of vain, all the innumerable obnoxious characters of a man-in-power you could imagine. However Dictator shows how he is on the inside unconfident, unassertive, he even obediently follows the insights of his advisor, who is apparently more firm in thoughts and decisions. Chaplin as the Jew was a soldier. Having crashed on a plane-crash, he became temporarily amnesiac. Quite the opposite of Hynkel, the Jew has a clear and firm attitude and state-of-mind. He has the will and spirit to fight Hynkel and his army, however thoughtless and nonchalant he is.
There were numerous interesting scenes in The Great Dictator. Ones of which were the scene when Hynkel does a long fiery speech in Germany –“very interesting, if only I understand,” as his opponent pointed out, supposed to be Mussolini, I guess– and him playing a huge balloon of the globe after his advisor told him he could rule the world. The interesting, and yes, hilarious, part is the duration of these scenes. It intensifies the humor. On the other side, other humors take short durations but continuous scenes. Snap-snap-snap. People laugh before they actually digest the humor.
I couldn’t think of any relevance between this film and the present social-political context, as I was told to include in the review, since apparently Nazi has stopped killing Jews and people don’t like dictators anymore. Regarding personal context, well I think there is one. There is always a side of a person he wishes to show, as well as a side he chooses to hide. There is a powerful and rough and unforgiving side of a dictator he has to show, and several sides he cannot. Overall rating from one to ten: 9.22 in precise. I’m so gonna watch this every gloomy weekend.
NEXT à just got a new book! Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris. Wait until I have the time to review it J
April 24, 2011 § Leave a Comment
this weekend i watched four movies. great movies. the more i think about it, the more it felt like they were all about women -women’s strength in particular. i enjoy reading Jane Austen but i’m not a feminist myself. but i could insure you these films are great (well, if you like pre-1990′s films, girls show-business, hot law-bending lawyers, tricky murders, swimming pools, and Cher).
on the first row we got Diabolique (1996, Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani), a reproduction of a French film Les Diaboliques (1955), the story of the wife and the mistress of a headmaster conspiring to murder him but apparently there was a big intrigue behind it all, and well someone at last ended up dead anyway.
the second was Driving Miss Daisy (1989, Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy) about an old woman refusing the chauffeur his son paid to drive her wherever she went. the ending was so touching and i kept smiling the whole time (it was partly because of the film).
comin in the third place: Burlesque (2010, Cher and Christina Aguilera), which i’m pretty sure half of you have watched. it was last february when i realized i was into girls show-business. a 15-hour flight didn’t give me much. i gotta say i fell in love with it (and a bit of musical drama).
the fourth but not least, Chicago (2002, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, and Richard Gere) oh god i love the soundtracks! and i love the way it showed how cunning and manipulative the law and show business are. well i feel kinda weird pairing up those two, but that was what the film showed me.
the best this week